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UPDATE: Barlow to speak in defence of the Canadian Wheat Board, Oct. 28 in Winnipeg

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow will speak at a major rally in Winnipeg this Friday in defence of the Canadian Wheat Board.

The Canadian Wheat Board Alliance, the Friends of the Canadian Wheat Board, and the National Farmers Union are organizing this demonstration, which starts at 10 am on the Red River Exhibition Grounds and then moves to a 12 pm rally in front of the Canadian Wheat Board building. Thousands are expected to be in attendance.

Members of the Council of Canadians Winnipeg chapter will be joining Barlow for this protest.

On October 18, the Harper government tabled a bill in the House of Commons to end the single desk authority of the Canadian Wheat Board by August 1, 2012. According to news reports, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says he wants the bill to be passed by Christmas. The last sitting day of the House will be on December 16 and it is scheduled to adjourn on December 21.

This past September 14, the Council of Canadians signed on to a National Farmers Union letter-writing campaign to defend the Canadian Wheat Board. That letter states, “The CWB provides fair, equitable, reliable and cost-effective service to farmers. The existence of the CWB provides stability in uncertain times, and is a foundation of Canada’s grain sector. Ending the single desk authority of the CWB would throw western agriculture into turmoil and would transfer wealth created by Canadian farmers to big private, often foreign-owned grain companies instead of being returned to farmers and spent in their communities.”

You are encouraged to add your name to this letter by going to https://www.cwb.ca/db/corp/petition.nsf/onlinepetitionWeb?OpenForm. If you live in Manitoba, go to http://www.gov.mb.ca/farmers/. If you are a farmer, the National Farmers Union is asking that you fax to them (at 306-664-6226) a hand-written letter explaining why you support the Canadian Wheat Board. They will then fax your letters on to all MPs and Senators.

The Council has long supported the Canadian Wheat Board. In 2005, a report we produced stated that, “The Government of Canada should maintain the Canadian Wheat Board and supply-management mechanisms that support family farms, protecting them from the prejudiced impact of international trade agreements.” In 2006, we spoke against the threat by then-Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl to fire the Canadian Wheat Board president unless he agreed to an open market for wheat and barley farmers.

For campaign blogs related to the Canadian Wheat Board, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?s=%22canadian+wheat+board%22.

For all the latest news and ways to engage in the campaign in defence of the Canadian Wheat Board, go to http://www.nfu.ca/cwb.html.